British swimmer Dan Jervis has come out as gay ahead of the Commonwealth Games which kick off next month. The 26-year-old spoke about his sexuality on the BBC LGBT Sport Podcast saying: “It took me 24 years to be who I am.”
The Welshman has had a highly successful career, including finishing fifth on his Olympic debut in Tokyo last year. In 2014, he secured a silver medal in the 1500m freestyle event in the Commonwealth Games, while in 2018, he won bronze.
“We’re just before the Commonwealth Games and there are going to be kids and adults watching who will know that I’m like them, and that I’m proud of who I am,” he said on the podcast.
“For so long, I hated who I was and you see it all the time, people who are dying over this. They hate themselves so much that they’re ending their lives.
“So if I can just be that someone people can look at and say, ‘yeah, they’re like me,’ then that’s good.”
It wasn’t until Dan Jervis was 24 that he revealed his sexuality to a close friend. “At that point, I’d never said the words out loud to myself. I said to her: ‘I think I’m gay.’ I couldn’t even say: ‘I’m gay.’ I was basically punching the words out.
“She was quite shocked but great, and it was exactly the reaction I wanted. I’ve had all good reactions, and the way I’ve described it is I’m not going to change as a person,” he continued.
“Everyone’s journey is different, but I think I’ve always known. It was something in the back of my mind, bugging me I thought I was bisexual and had girlfriends that I loved – but it came to about three years ago where I knew I had to deal with this.
It's been a privilege for us to tell his story for the first time.
— Jack Murley (@jack_murley) June 29, 2022
“It wasn’t affecting my swimming, but me as a human being. It sounds quite drastic, but I wasn’t enjoying my life. Yeah, I was smiling, but there was something missing to make me properly happy.
“I’m still the Dan you’ve always known. You just know something else about me now,” he said.
With this weight lifted off his shoulders, Dan Jervis will now compete for Wales at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham starting July 28 as an openly gay swimmer.
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